Sunday, July 31, 2005

Random thoughts at the end of the moratorium

In the Suns awards haul at the end of the regular season, general manager Bryan Colangelo won the Sporting News' Executive of the Year award. I will argue that Colangelo didn't win this award for anything he did between July 2004 and the end of the season, which included the signing of Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson along with a key midseason pickup of Jim Jackson. No, I think he won it when he convinced Isiah Thomas to take on the huge long-term contracts of Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway during the 2003-04 season. It cleared the Suns' debts and allowed them the ability to be reborn.

In that light, I'd like to be the first to cast an executive of the year vote for the 2006 to the Nets' Rod Thorn. And even though he's had a terrific month, I think it was something he did a year ago made it all possible. When his new owner told him last summer that he wouldn't pay for Kenyon Martin, causing Thorn to lose a staredown with the Denver Nuggets, it had to be personally and professionally hurtful. He traded Martin and Kerry Kittles, two starters from the championship teams he built, for nothing but draft picks and trade exceptions. Instead of pouting, he thought long-term.

He's turned those into Vince Carter and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and one of his last draft picks, Nenad Kristic, has the potential to be an All-Star center. With Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson, the Nets figure to turn into title contenders again.

On to the Knicks. Larry Brown going there is poetic and everything, but I'm not sure it's the best thing. Isiah had just started to sort of float the idea that rebuilding is in order -- the battle cry trained observers have been suggesting for some time now -- and he went and hired a first-class coach. No rebuilding now. With an average an waaaaaay overpaid roster, I'm not alone in thinking that problematic club needs a surgeon more than a coach. But if there's one thing Isiah believes in, it's band-aids. Here's another one.

On the Cavaliers. I hear a lot of people on the radio and read message boards where fans are ready to coronate Danny Ferry for his offseason. All I can really say is that he's spent a lot of Dan Gilbert's money. Don't judge the team until it plays. I'm not being critical, I'm just saying not to rush to judgment yet. Until the off-season is compete and the roster is filled, you can't give a grade. And not until you see how the team comes together can you judge how good the decisions were.

By the way, the Suns absolutely must match Joe Johnson's offer sheet he'll sign with the Hawks. The owner, Robert Sarver, doesn't want to see a huge payroll and Johnson's deal will give the Suns four guys making more than $10 million, but he does want to win a title. That means keeping Johnson. If it doesn't work out, he can break the team down later.

Finally, we just passed the one-year anniversary of Carlos Boozer signing with the Jazz. An article in today's Salt Lake Tribune looks back at it all. Having covered it and written about it more than any other writer in the country, I grew tired of it long go. So even though I think this story misses on some points I don't care anymore.

It was summed up well, I think, for me at the end of the season by a Cavs official:

"I'd lie to my mother for a million bucks, probably much less. All Carlos had to do was lie to Gordon Gund and Jim Paxson for $30 million."

I'm not calling him or anyone else a liar, I'm just saying there's some perspective there.

Take care,